Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, February 27

Gapers Block

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Andrew / August 1, 2003 12:23 PM

I've gotten something called "ham snacks" at a Vietnamese bakery/deli at Broadway and Argyle (can't remember the name, but the window has an Eiffel Tower and lots of bread painted on it). They don't seem to contain any ham at all, instead consisting of shredded agar-agar that's been flavored and dyed pink, pressed into tamale-sized portions and topped with a slice of jalepeno or Asian chile. They taste pretty good, but the texture takes some getting used to.

j3s / August 1, 2003 12:59 PM

I'm a big fan of panchan: Korean side dishes, served kind of tapas-style. The more people in your group, the more different kinds you get, including stuff with eyeballs.

I also really want to try some stuff off the "Very special Chinese menu" at Lao Sze Chuan, lots of offal and obscure parts. I figure if you're going to eat the animal, you might as well eat the whole animal.

Also Ethiopian, which is wonderful and communal, great spongy bread. Jibaritos anywhere around Logan Square/Humboldt Park: a steak sandwich served with fried plantains instead of bread. Foie gras, which is texture heaven, at Cyrano and Red Rooster. Brazilian feijoada at Brazil Legal on Western, a savory meat beans and rice dish.

Now that I think about it though, I've done the majority of my "unusual" food consumption out of town. Unless you count sashimi as unusual, which I don't. Oh, I'm going to Heat tonight! Last time I went we forgot to order the fresh kill (read: still twitching) fish, so I hope to get down on that this evening.

Cinnamon / August 1, 2003 1:11 PM

Andrew, its Bale bakery and deli. I have weird food texture hang-ups but I thought they were great, if a bit too spicy for my tastes.

I think the weirdest thing I've eaten that I've liked is the sea cucumber from Katsu. Easily the best sushi restaraunt in town.

lacey, the paranoid / August 1, 2003 1:35 PM

My friend in New York uses the term "street meat" to describe food bought from street vendors. I think it's all-too-appropriate. Even if it's not meat.

lacey, no longer paranoid / August 1, 2003 1:36 PM


Naz "Foodcore" H. / August 1, 2003 1:37 PM

When I was living in Kuala Lumpur, I've had various kinds of local delicacies. Satay comes in various meats (of which you'll find usually just chicken here) that include chicken, lamb, beef, and then comes tripe (lung), liver, and heart. All of which I've sampled (my parents!) in various states, satay, in curries, in soups. I mistakenly ate a piece of lamb eyeball and have tried chicken feet in soup.

Famous in Kuala Lumpur is a small restaurant that has a specialty and was covered in all the local newspapers when it opened: bull penis.

Not to mention that I've seen briefly in the darker areas of Chinatown (still in Malaysia here) monkey brains eaten while still in their skulls. Some Chinese restaurants in KL will serve rattlesnake, python, and very hard to find is dog which I suspect is part of the "cuisine underground" much like the monkey brains are.

Oh, my mom who found a python in our backyeard once (somewhat scary but not uncommon and a whole other story altogether) and got some local jack-of-all-trades to come get it, which I believe they sold to a local restaurant.

A lex, x, x "My Stomach Hurts" V. / August 1, 2003 3:40 PM

Hmmm...I've eaten just about everything under the sun here in the city -- most of it at home while growing up:

- Brains
- Tripe
- Intestines
- Tongue
- Shark
- Octopus
- Cactus
- Pigs' feet, ears

Lots of other stuff too -- which prolly explains why I was vegetarian for a long time.

Cinnamon / August 1, 2003 3:55 PM

Just remembered the oddest thing I ate at the age of 10, on a pig farm in Central Ohio. Mountain Oysters (prounounced urr-sters) which happen to be the testes of young neutered pigs. They were deep-fried and I ate them with ketchup.

Ruthie / August 1, 2003 10:38 PM

I can't help noticing that whenever really horrifying, disgusting, odd food comes up, nearly everything mentioned comes from an animal of some kind.
Good reason to go vegetarian?
Are there any really crazy/weird/gross vegetarian foods?

M. / August 2, 2003 9:12 AM

When I was growing up in the South, we ate all sorts of vegetarian "wild foods." There was snake vine to harvest (teeny wild strawberries) and pickle plants to find (clover with vinegary tasting flower stems.) Wild pears, honeysuckle, muscadine grapes ... the list is (almost) endless.

The best wild food was polk sallet - a bitter green that grows best wild on the edges of woods. The kids would go out to pick brown grocery bags full, then bring it back home to clean. To make it edible, we'd soak it in ice water, then boil it, then fry it up with bacon grease and put an egg on top. Delicious. I might have to eat an elote today in honor of it.

Chris Barrett / August 2, 2003 10:59 AM

I like sandwiches. There was this vietnamese place across the alley from the guy I get Vincent parts from in St. Paul, MN. Vietnamese sandwiches are different than the sandwiches mommy made.

M. / August 2, 2003 11:01 AM

Re: Poke Sallet

Should have mentioned you have to boil it twice to safely eat it - it is a toxic green otherwise.

Cinnamon / August 3, 2003 10:50 PM

Ruthie: natto is fermented soy beans and is a very Japanese item. Tastes rotten, the word "fermented" is just a euphemism. And the grossest smelling field I've ever come across, is broccoli. Horrifyingly pungent.

Eric / August 4, 2003 6:00 AM

I realize this is not something too terribly unique or original being that we are the Midwest and all (well, I'm in Seattle till next year, but my heart's in Chicago) but I feel compelled to mention it: Corn. From the street vendor guys. They smear it with butter or mayonnaise or both, sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese, and then powder with paprika, or something. Last summer, my friend would ramble on about how great these things were and I was hyped when he drunkenly ran outside late one Saturday afternoon to purchase one after hearing the vendor's bells out on the street. When he returned several bites were missing and I drunkenly accepted the paper plate upon which it sat. It tasted really good and by "good" I mean "bad." I handed it back to him but not before noticing that the paper plate had turned downright transparent. Ok, it wasn't bad, it just didn't fit with my goal to remain angioplasty-free. I don't regret trying it. I mean, life is all about taking risks and I don't normally share cylindrical vegetables with guy friends of mine. I really don't. It was an interesting experience and one more I can tick off on my list of things I didn't ever care to do. Oh god, it's 4 am and I'm writing about cylindrical vegetables and I don't even know you people. Where have I gone wrong with my life?

+mojan. / August 4, 2003 6:53 PM

The frushi at Orange (3231 N. Clark St.) is fabulouso.

Kevin / August 4, 2003 9:48 PM

"Are there any really crazy/weird/gross vegetarian foods?"

Yeah. Vegetables.

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